Monday, December 17, 2007

Turkey (Ephesus)

When I woke up, the and looked out of the window, the scenery that greeted my eyes was just magnificent. In the dark when we arrived the night before, I didn't know that the hotel was just beside a beautiful bay.

So I went out and with my digicam, took shots of the bay slowly being lighted up by the rising sun. The air was crisp and still cold. It will remain cold the whole day.

We then went on the bus and headed for the House Of Virgin Mary at the top of the "Bulbul" mountain near Ephesus. The cold air made my batteries go berserk. Three quarters of the time, my digicam showed 'low batt'. That was why I could not take any shots up there.

The very small house where Mary, mother of Jesus, had supposedly spent her last days was one of the highlights of my trip. There was a natural spring there and to many Catholics, the water that comes from the spring was supposed to be holy water. I cupped my hands to take some and wipped my face with it, much to the disagreement of some Muslims that were in my group. I really am not sure why I did that. Perhaps, it was just because I was so happy.

I supposed they forgot that Mary is a figure recognised to be special by not just Christians, but also Muslims. So is Jesus and Moses and many others. If Mary was really here, then I feel blessed, as a Muslim, to be able to visit her last place of dwelling.

It was after that when we went down the hill to visit the ancient ruins of Ephesus. Ephesus was a port that used to be the most important commercial centre in ancient times. It became later a religious centre of the early Christianity.

Ephesus was the stage of many important events that has helped shaped the history of mankind. It has been attacked by countless armies: the Cimmerians, the Lydians, the Persians, the Greeks and the Ottomans. Many important people have stayed here: from great poets to philosophers to geographers, from great artists to important physicians. The list of names of these famous ancient people are too many for me to list down on this blog entry.

To be able to stand exactly where many great people have stood, were born, and have lived is somewhat magical. I know all this does not make any sense but to me, it just does. To be able to touch the very same marble and stone pillars that they did, made the huge chunk of my savings spent on this trip, just worth every cent of it.

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